Motivating Your Children To Be Power Saving Superstars
Saving power and creating a truly energy efficient home is going to work best with the involvement of everybody who lives in your home.
If your household includes children, then you need to include them in your power saving efforts or you risk losing the value of your hard earned energy saving efforts at the other end of the house where the lights are all on and the video games & TV never stop.
Children are often unaware of the effect their power usage habits have on the monthly power bill. You need to create a strategy that involves both education and motivation if you are to succeed in changing their power usage habits.
Step 1 – Identify
The first thing you need to do is identify how your children are using power within the home. The most common usages include room lights, gaming, television/audio, charging electronic devices, heating & baths/showers.
Once you have identified the power usages for your children, take some time to observe their habits around these areas of use. Then ask yourself this question, are any of these things being powered whilst not actually being used?
- Leaving room lights on once your child leaves the room
- Leaving televisions, games or stereos on whilst no longer being in the room
- Leaving heaters on after leaving a room
- Charging electronic devices once the battery is full – note that most batteries last longer if they go through a cycle of charge and discharge rather than running the device off the mains power.
Step 2 – Education
Get your children involved in power saving by calmly discussing your observations with them. Show them some of your power bills and put that spend into perspective of what else you could buy with that money or what you could buy with the money saved if it was an example 20% power saving.
Depending on the age of your children they are likely to have discussed the environment in school, try and relate their power saving into the environment and the positive effect that has on their future.
Step 3 - Motivation
Discuss ideas with them to remember to turn off unused devices or power. Perhaps use a timer for showers and if hot water is running low for some showers try to change the order of who takes showers to let them experience the running low effect.
Depending on the age of your children, charts work really well. Create a monthly chart where they get a star each day you don’t notice an empty room in the house with lights or electronic devices left on. At the end of the month they get a prize. Aim for 80% compliance the first month and then increase the compliance level each month. Over time your children will become naturally aware to switch things on and off. You just need to help them create a good habit.
With older children you could review the monthly bill for money saved to gain a reward. The Energy Online power usage app might also be of interest to older tech savvy children.
By following these steps hopefully over time power saving will be part of the mindset of all the members of your energy efficient home.